City leaders unveil Shockoe Project in effort to memorialize city's history in slave trade

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Posted at 11:05 PM, Feb 27, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-27 23:14:54-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond leaders are bringing a new project to the Shockoe Valley to educate people on the full story behind Richmond's history.

City leaders are calling it the Shockoe Project.

It’s a nearly $50 million project that will include exhibits at Main Street Station and span more than 10 acres in the area to detail the city's involvement on a national scale in the slave trade as well as memorialize the voices of enslaved people.

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney made the announcement Tuesday, alongside lawmakers, community members, and those who have worked over decades to preserve Shockoe’s history.

The project will include an educational facility called the Shockoe Institute at Main Street Station, the site of Lumpkin’s Slave Jail, the Mary Lumpkin Event Lawn, memorials to the African Burial Ground and to the hundreds of thousands of enslaved sold and traded through the area, commercial development along Broad Street, a pedestrian bridge, the national Slavery Museum, and greenspace and walking trails.

Stoney said the project shows a shared commitment and vision to memorializing the traumatic experiences of enslaved Africans and Native Americans and honoring their struggles toward liberation.

“In order to celebrate the history of Richmond and to celebrate the history of the Commonwealth of Virginia you must speak about the history of free and enslaved Black Americans who built this city,” Stoney said.

Organizers designed the project in collaboration with community groups like the Shockoe Partnership, Shockoe Neighborhood Association, Preservation Virginia, and the Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project.

The funding of the project is coming from the City of Richmond, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the Mellon Foundation.

Officials said the first part of the project, which will be the Shockoe Institute at Main Street Station is expected to open in 2025.

Officials say the full scope of the project won’t be done until 2037.

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